I have written some paper, that is quite extensive, that I would like to submit. However, the journal that I would like to submit to (with the highest impact factor) accepts only short letters that can be up to 4 pages. With such a low limit I am not able to describe everything precisely and I am not sure what to do.

Is it good idea to try to publish some short letter in the journal with good impact factor and then try to submit extensive version to different journal, or maybe it would be better to submit the whole article to the journal with lower impact factor but without such low limit on the number of pages?

I also wonder how the journals are going to consider my idea to publish the same thing twice, but the second time in much more extensive way.

This is the first time I try to do such thing and I do not know if it is a common practice, and how much ,,knowledge'' should be included in the short letter.


1 Answer 1


This is common in my field, physics, to the extent that at least one publisher has an explicit policy encouraging it:

The submission of an expanded version of a PRL to a topical Physical Review journal is an established practice that provides readers with easier access to important additional information. If authors simultaneously submit a Letter to PRL and a regular paper to one of the Physical Review journals, the two manuscripts are then reviewed coherently, typically by the same reviewers. If both papers receive favorable reviews, we aim to publish them at the same time, unless this leads to undue delay for one of them. We also ensure that the paper and the Letter cite each other.

Submitting a joint publication couldn’t be easier. Simply alert the editors by mentioning the companion papers in your cover letter.

For example, consider the case when you have come up with a great new method to calculate something. Then the letter would tend to introduce the method, and show results from an example application or two. (Naturally, these examples are usually the ones with the most impressive or surprising results.) The full-length article wouldn't so much repeat what was stated in the letter as it would extend it. It might provide more details and justification, applying the method to a wider set of systems, and showing some less central conclusions. The idea is that it should still be a different paper, but there is less need for the letter to be fully self-contained.

That said, it's even more common to first write up the more "exciting" results, submit that as a self-contained letter, and then submit a more extensive follow-up as a regular article later. I don't know how universal either practice is, so you might want to check with an advisor, or mentor, or colleague to figure out if this is an accepted practice in your field, and what the expectations would be.

  • 1
    Fully agree - I did just this more than a few times with PRL and PRB or APL and JAP.
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 22, 2018 at 18:59
  • @Anyon Do you use the same title for both?
    – Al Bundy
    Oct 23, 2018 at 6:12
  • @AlBundy Following the "should be different papers" logic, I'd say go for distinct (but usually thematically related) names that match the distinct contents in each. You could also use subheadings, like in "On X: Y" and "On X: Z", but using the exact same title for two papers released the same year just seems like it would cause unnecessary confusion.
    – Anyon
    Oct 24, 2018 at 19:02

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